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Is Science a religion?

  1. Yes, it is

    2 vote(s)
  2. No, it is not

    26 vote(s)
  3. Errmm... No comment

    0 vote(s)
  1. Feb 22, 2009 #1
    Reading threads on this forum (especially under cosmology and Debunk), I see that many people make the accusation or statement that a person has distanced himself from science and logic and towards belief or religion. So I ask you - Do you think that science is a religion?

    I'd say it ultimately it comes down to- How do I know that I know?

    Anyway, what do you think?

    EDIT: A more specific question:

    Are science, religion and also philosophy based on the same foundations?
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2009
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 22, 2009 #2
    No, science is not a religion. The concept of paradigm simply does not exist in a religion. Science is more of a method, of which we all are pretty sure there is no better method to comprehend the world.
  4. Feb 22, 2009 #3
    "Ultimately it comes down to our eras most important philosophical question- How do I know that I know?"

    Why is that question more important than, say?
    "When will I get laid next time?"
    "What am I going to have for lunch?"
  5. Feb 22, 2009 #4
    Well you can't really know can you?:)
  6. Feb 22, 2009 #5


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  7. Feb 22, 2009 #6
    Of course not ! This can not be a serious question... Tell me, is beer an entree or a dessert ? Is Friday a color ? Is beauty a quantity ? Do we real need to discuss this ? If you really want to discuss this, can you elaborate on which point precisely you would like to focus ?
  8. Feb 22, 2009 #7
    Well if you need a more focused question then perhaps this one:

    Are science, religion and philosophy for that matter based on the same foundations?

    (actually now that I think about it it isn't really focused now is it ;)
  9. Feb 22, 2009 #8
    Religion is not based on anything. That's what religion is! :biggrin:
  10. Feb 22, 2009 #9
  11. Feb 22, 2009 #10


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    That thread was locked in BAUT ATM forum, so it's certainly not suitable to discuss the same material here!
  12. Feb 22, 2009 #11
    No, but there is certainly zealotry in its ranks reminiscent of religion. And then you have the "saints", Newton, Einstein and the click.
  13. Feb 22, 2009 #12
    To Cristo : sorry:)
  14. Feb 22, 2009 #13

    Do you count logic under paradigm?

    If so then what about the various "proofs of god"? Suggest reading the ones from Anselm and from Thomas of Aquino - They're the more famous ones.

    Footnote: I am not a christian or in any other way a religious person. (But I do like to define myself as a philosopher .:roll:.)
  15. Feb 22, 2009 #14

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  16. Feb 22, 2009 #15
    First, I'm not a philosopher, so I may say something completely outrageous.

    Is logic a paradigm? I don't think so. I feel that logic is part of our intelligence and cognition. It cannot be called a belief, because we don't believe in it - we just feel it that way. I don't think there is more "enlightenment" to come regarding logic. There hasn't been any, and there won't be any (I think).

    First Anselm's "proof", it's total rubbish. The problem is not the logic here though. He bases this on some nonsense of necessary and contingent existence.

    What about Thomas of Aquino? I haven't heard that one, but I will look it up now.

    But these "proofs" are clearly not proofs. If there is one proof that uses logic and established facts (empirically or trivially), I would like to see it.
  17. Feb 22, 2009 #16
    I'd flip that around and say religion is a science. Religion tries to take a certain view and fit it to common logic while Science seems take common logic and see where ever it goes. Religion starts with common logic and makes you think this statement makes sense, or that this is true or probably true, because the previous statement makes sense. It's fuzzy science, or twisted science. Perhaps the science of human manipulation. I can speak of this because I used to be a firm believer in the Abrahamic religions. I tried to take my view of what I thought was true and try to fit it to logic but I tried and tried and just couldn't do it. I tried to prove God to myself through logic and it obviously didn't happen. And once I could free myself from religion, I could totally free myself and be a free thinker. No more trying to hold a view and build around it.

    Religion does seem to have a logical basis and I think that's where it fools you. [edit] Mix logic and a hopeful word, say what they want to hear, in a book and people just lick it up. If you choose your words carefully, you can pretty much get away with almost anything you want. Maybe you could call it the science of psychiatric manipulation.
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 22, 2009
  18. Feb 22, 2009 #17
    This in my opinion raises the question of how we define "religion". Based on what you have said, religion would be something of a movement that is based on worship and on the words of a few people. That would certainly be true about the Abrahamic religions as you have said but I would like to take a more broader definition of religion because there now exist many religious movements that are not really based on worship or a prophet for that matter (some of them have been sparked by the advance of modern science I may add -- "God Theory for example). Alot of religions emphasize understanding the world at a deeper level and give a more personal approach to it. They lack the clear hirearchical structure of the Abrahamic religions and many of them do not give any ethical codes to live to (and all those things.)
  19. Feb 22, 2009 #18


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    Stupid question, stupid poll. You'll never hear a scientist trying to claim religion is a science. Why to theologians want to compare science to their belief system?

    Because they envy the ability science has that they only claim, to heal the sick and feed the hungry and otherwise improve the quality of life on this planet? Not really.

    Because they want to justify their belief system as "just another alternative" and most particularly to justify denying scientific evidence which runs contrary to the dogma of their beliefs as "just a choice of belief".

    The attempt to push creation "science" into the science classroom is like trying to push creationism into a mathematics or computer programming. It is a religious/philosophical issue outside the subject at hand.
  20. Feb 22, 2009 #19

    Again,as I said in my previous post, I think we should acknowledge the difference between religions as well. There are a lot of religions that are based on the same fundamental principle as science is: To find out how the world works. These religions are more based on self-finding and hightened sensing and so on (not really aan expert so can't go into specifics). True they make some assumptions (as does science) and they have a more "personal" approach (meaning they are not meant to be provable to everyone, just yourself). This more modern approach that it does not really matter how you approach the subject of learning more about the universe is very far from the abrahamic religions that we all know. The difference is that it has a spiritual approach.

    Could we agree then that these religions and science lie on the same principles even if they are somewhat contradictory. (Although in my opinion they needn't be) or is there some fault in my logic?

    BTW: I would like to bring to your notice that the quote from Galilei that you have, does not necessarily exclude the spiritual approach to the matter?!?!?
  21. Feb 22, 2009 #20
    I'd agree, this can be a very fuzzy argument. If we go into specifics, it gets hard to arbitrate the two. I'm really not even sure why I feel the need to argue the topic. What we have that's proven Science is just that and it stands on solid ground. So the rest is mostly up to interpretation.

    Humans naturally like to distinguish things, put things in order, and say 'you go here' and 'you go there' so it'll all be nice, neat, and fit for their consumption to easily understand. I feel myself a lot of the time doing the opposite and telling people they're more like others than they may like to believe. Or trying to cross lines in a debate some don't like to go. Things get messy. The Universe can be messy. Though it can be clean and organized if you view it that way. We can find all kinds of ways to see how things fit together and we can find all kinds of ways to see how they can go together usually. It's up to interpretation. You can find ways science and religion are alike and you can distinguish them if you want.

    It really doesn't matter much, imho. The Science people probably don't want the religious peoples' word mixing in with theirs and vice versa. It's probably important to distinguish the two, at least on a loose term. But it's not for me to decide but it's rather interesting discussing.
  22. Feb 22, 2009 #21


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    It is made clear in all religious texts including the bible that they require faith, so attempts to prove them are started on fallacy.

    You didn't define religion anywhere that I can see, but here's how I define it and here's why the question has a correct and incorrect answer (shouldn't be a poll). A religion is a faith-based belief system. Science is a not a belief system, it is a method for examining the natural world.
  23. Feb 22, 2009 #22


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    Yes. These questions are typically based on the desire of the religious to co-opt what science is/has, whether to try to pull religion up to the level of science or bring science down to the level of religion.
  24. Feb 22, 2009 #23
    I wouldn't be so quick to mock religion. I used to do the same for all the bull I went through for religion. But the truth is, your truth is only a truth beneficial for your survival, just as we may argue religion is. People seem to seek it because it makes them feel good and survive certain trials better.

    We all live a version of our own truth that is beneficial for our own survival, whether it's the whole truth or not. Some guy may be better at a certain game than you are. And so you may feel irrelevent or insecure but you may go on and hope you can get better. It doesn't matter that you suck, that you probably don't even need to be playing because you're just that bad, but you still go on because it's beneficial for your survival to compete. You ignore the truth, that you could possibly be irrelevant, un-needed but you go on because you have hope. You have certain human emotions which interfere with what may be the truth on a universal scale. We're all tainted with human emotion whether we want to admit it or not.

    In the overall scheme of things, we could be just as a cancer upon the Earth, devouring so much of it that we kill the thing which feeds us. If it came down to where killing others was beneficial due to over-population, do you think we'd admit it? I don't think so. Some of us could but most of us would be in denial. Most of the religious would come up with some other crap such as upping the number of death row inmates so they could hold on to their dogged ideals. I'm not sure the human population could ever, as a majority, say that it's time to start killing people, at least, in a direct fashion. We all live somewhat of a lie. There's shades of gray in everything. We're all slaves to chemicals which changes our outlook on things.

    The more and more I live, the more and more I see how gray and gooey the universe is. We're all more alike than we like to admit sometimes and more different than we like to admit sometimes. The same goes for ideas or beliefs also. Though most of my views won't be popular because they reside in that gray, dull, uncolorful area and usually tends to take no sides or take both so it's usually not too popular. Man is just prone to competition and we usually try to find a logical excuse to promote fighting with others.

    I would also add, the paths in science we usually go after are the ones which benefit us. We usually tend to look for a way to manipulate something for our own benefit. Truth will almost always be biased toward the benefit of the observer. Why do we even argue over who's right or not? Is it to benefit us or even the individual on a local scale? It's not to attain truth for the sake of truth if we gain nothing from it, is it? The ego loves being right.
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2009
  25. Feb 23, 2009 #24

    I will probably get slapped for this but I'll go forth anyway:

    Now if we leave all these fuzzy arguments, definements of how they approach things differently and are based on different emotions. I would start from the very basics and then move on if we can:

    BOTH, in my opinion, require the same belief as a starting point- Belief that what they are doing is right. At the very core you must ultimately believe that trying to explain the world through scientific method is a correct way, that our empirical knowledge is actually real. (suggest reading about Boltzmann, he has some very interesting theories). I know that you could probably say this about anything, not only religion and science but I think that in every people's life there comes a time for choice- when he has to choose with which approach to the world he will start with. And at a starting point, those choices are on a even level. Now the fact that some choices are more idiotic or may turn out to be dead-ends is a different matter- I will leave it to someone else to contemplate on.

    I know that this can be a bit confusing but would anyone agree to this or present another approach?
  26. Feb 23, 2009 #25
    In a minority sense science does have a religious nature. Why would one champion experimentally obtained facts over self interest? What sort of ridiculous thing would this be; but it happens--on occasion. If it doesn't the practitioners are not practicing science, but pretending. Tell me why one should not, without some rather bazaar notions of proper behavior. Science only survives, when it does, when self interest, on average, positively correlates with objectively obtained deductions. Look at the Global Warming B.S. Science lost. Self interest prevails, because of weak correlation. Nothing new under the Sun.
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